Certainty Is Key Issue at Indaba; Mining Delegates Want Regulatory Stability

Cape Times (South Africa), October 9, 2014 | Go to article overview

Certainty Is Key Issue at Indaba; Mining Delegates Want Regulatory Stability


BYLINE: Staff Reporter

IN A bid to instil confidence and stability in South Africa's mining industry President Jacob Zuma will chair a meeting of key industry stakeholders in Pretoria today.

The idea of a Mining Sector National Consultative Forum was announced by the president during his State of the Nation address in June.

He said then that he would lead the government-labour-mining sector interface, and that the revitalisation and rebuilding of distressed mining towns and communities would be made a priority during his second term in office.

Although mining represents a declining portion of the economy, now about 6 percent, the industry is still a critical employer of more than 500 000 people, who provide for hundreds of thousands of households and millions of dependants.

Amendments

The forum follows on the heels of yesterday's Joburg Indaba on mining held in the city of gold. Speakers there included Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani.

Ramatlhodi said the government was aware that investment in the mining industry was dependent on regulatory policy frameworks as codified in legislation.

He said efforts were under way to finalise amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act.

"In this regard the amendment to the minerals bill is sitting in front of the president," he said at the indaba in Sandton. "This is the result of my request on my appointment that I needed time to study the bill following certain queries from the industry, in particular with regard to mining and gas."

Ramatlhodi said he had since made representations to Zuma on the bill, which proposes amendments to the act regulating the resources sector.

In a short questionnaire at the indaba, the majority of delegates said regulatory certainty was needed. In the meantime, the minister said his department was readying itself should the bill be sent back to Parliament.

"This is so that the time frames and the delays are dealt with... to provide the certainty that the industry wants," Ramatlhodi said.

"I should mention also that as we discuss these matters I do not want a situation of cold comfort, where we arrive at arrangements which remain contested elsewhere within political structures.

"My aim is that if we have got a boil we should open it now and be sure that going forward we have certain frameworks which will survive into the foreseeable future. …

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